Monday 24 August 2009

The lab tests came back yesterday. My husband’s wound is the result of a staphylococci infection. It is not an insect bite. It is not from the thorn of a toxic plant. It’s a simple, straight-forward staph infection which, in the lab, responded well to a particular brand of antibiotics that spouse is now taking.

The origin of the staph infection is disturbing, however, and anyone with a weak stomach should not read further because the rest is a bit graphic.

I married into a family with many odd traditions, one of which apparently, is picking scabs. Both my husband’s parents, his siblings and several cousins all indulge. All of them. Some have brown marks where a scab has been so repeatedly picked at, there’s permanent discolouration. The marks are passed off as bruises. No one comments. Commenting would be rude.

The monumental effort necessary to break bad habits does not escape me. I quit smoking after forty years of practically living on cigarettes and coffee. My weight’s shot up since and now I deal with food and exercise issues I never had to even think about before. So I know it’s hard to confront a demon.

In my own house and never in earshot of another person, I have tried to educate my husband on the possible consequences of scab picking. I have explained how the skin is a living, breathing organ as important as his heart and that chipping away at it’s natural defenses can be dangerous. I’ve googled articles to show him how a person can actually sufficate, despite good lungs, when the skin pores become clogged with mediums like metallic paint or severe burns. I’ve shown him anatomical diagrams of the layers of skin and how scabs prevent diseases from invading the bloodstream via open wounds. He blows me off. He’s been so angry with me for even bringing this subject up he has, on occasion, stopped talking to me for days at a time. It’s just a scab. I’m overreacting.

But this seemingly innocuous habit of picking at scabs before nature decides the body is ready for it to stop protecting the layers of skin beneath can actually be fatal. With so many diseases at our fingertips, like Tetanus, E-Coli, Asian Flu and Swine Flu, something needs to be said.

Photos and lecture tomorrow.

To comment on this post please scroll back to the title: Small Interruption – Update: Lab Results and click the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud